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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Saimdang: Light's Diary" Episode 28 Final


The ending to "Saimdang: Light's Diary" is more anticlimactic than anything else. The bad guys are almost immediately brought to justice because one essential character changes sides, and CCTV footage which should have been exposed, I don't know, a dozen episodes ago suddenly pops up out of nowhere and decisively proves that Jeong-hak was a fink all along. Meanwhile, in the past, King Jungjong is sad because it has suddenly occurred to him that persecuting artists is bad.

As for Saimdang, in a bizare twist, the production teams allows her to be angelic and forgiving toward Won-soo's adultery while still allowing her spectral form to cavort with Lee Gyum in dream world Italy. Incidentally, it would seem that the Italians took Ji-yoon's discovery of a famous Korean artist who was active in the Renaissance a great deal more seriously than the Koreans did. The castle where all this got stated has now been fabulously restored.

Considering what little interest "Samdang: Light's Diary" had in the prospect of East meeting West in the Renaissance, I'm left wondering why this very potentially interesing story element is even in the drama at all. But then I could write the same thing about Saimdang herself. The sponsorsip note for Saimdang cosmetics that appears at the end of every episode has long since become a cruel joke. Yes dramas are an inherently commercial effort. But this one didn't even try to discuss art!

Far more effort was placed in the excessively melodramatic sountrack, which reminded me of "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" in that it makes more sense for selling K-Pop abroad than it does in any historical context. Athough that's not a fair comparison. Uneven though the story may have been in "Scarlet Heart: Ryeo", it was at least identifiable as a story. Some people in the production team, at least, had some idea what they were doing.

But here? Ji-yoon recovers from her near fatal injury easily, just as Min-seok easily recovered from his. Everyone lives happily in the country. One character gets a successful sales caeer (?) and another two form an implied romance (!?), while at the very end, Ji-yoon finally discovers the identity of the mysterious man with the camera. I suppose I could dwell some more on the significance of this revelaton, in concert with the generally pointless dual roles "Saimdang: Light's Diary" gave to only some of its performers. Nah, I'm just going to sigh in relief that the drama's finally over.

Review by William Schwartz

"Saimdang: Light's Diary" is directed by Yoon Sang-ho, written by Park Eun-ryeong and features Lee Young-ae, Song Seung-heon, Oh Yoon-ah, Park Hye-soo, Yoon Ye-joo, Yoon Da-hoon and Kim Hae-sook.

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